When you have an open seat next to you on any ride lasting longer than an hour, it’s too good to be true. Mine gave me false hope almost until the doors shut. A man came running to the stop and was still out of breath when he sat down next to me.
He seemed not much older than me and looked like he had been traveling for weeks.
“Thanks, man.” He had broken the seal of silence, and I found out in our conversation over the next hour and a half that he had in fact been traveling for weeks. Straight up the east coast, and this was the point that he turned west to head to the other side of the country.
He spent some time sorting his things. He carried not much more than his backpack, which he propped up against the seat in front of him to get one of his two water bottles. He pulled out a played with a large wad of cash.
“Can I borrow your phone? Mine’s dead.” He called his friend at his stop, which was one before mine.
I think he started asking what kind of music I’m into, but I could be remembering incorrectly. Regardless, it came up earlier than expected.
Before long, he asked, ‘If you could be doing anything anywhere, what would it be?”
I didn’t know how to answer, but he already had his thought through. He was fascinated with Finding Bigfoot, a show in which four people travelled into the deep forests of the Pacific Northwest to find Sasquatch. Living with nothing but the land and pursuing a sole goal was for him the dream.
At this point, I realized we still didn’t know anything about each other. He seemed to just be talking to keep his mind busy. He never looked at me and reacted only minimally to what I said. He appeared to still be sweating. He cleared his throat and sniffed often.
He seemed to trail off in his sentences, so the conversation quieted. A bit later, he stirred form his sleep abruptly and paced to the bathroom in the back. When he returned five to ten minutes later, I asked if he was okay.
“What, could you hear me?”
No, but it seemed to be an abrupt dash for the bathroom. He fell asleep again, but I knew when to wake him.
But when his stop came, he didn’t seem to want to be disturbed. I told him where we were. He scoffed and slumped back over.
When my stop came, he was in even deeper sleep. I couldn’t offer him lodging, so I let him sleep after a quick jostle of his shoulder. If his friend needed him, he could have called my phone.
I hope he got to where he needed to be, but he didn’t seem like the kind of guy to mind.